Monday 29 July 2013

Zucchini (Courgette) Slice

Zucchinis or courgettes, whatever you want to call them, are a deliciously versatile vegetable available all year around. Zucchini slice is undoubtedly an Aussie favourite, but to my surprise, the Brits had not heard of our classic dish. I have made this loads of times whilst being here and it has been very well received. I had never considered putting it on the blog as I always thought it was a bit too simple, but as they say, simple things are quite often the best. So here it is... my Zucchini Slice recipe (or for the English playing at home) Courgette Slice!


2 zucchinis finely grated
1 onion finely chopped
150g diced bacon or ham (I prefer bacon)
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
6 large beaten eggs
1 cup (80g) cheddar cheese
1 clove of crushed garlic
Salt & Pepper
Handful of breadcrumbs (for sprinkling on top)


Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a rectangular oven dish.

♥ Place zucchini, onion, bacon, flour, eggs, cheese, garlic and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined.

♥ Pour mixture into oven dish making sure it has been spread evenly, sprinkle the mixture with a generous handful of breadcrumbs.

♥ Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and a knife comes out clean from the centre.

♥ Cut into squares and serve either hold or cold. Enjoy!

Monday 17 June 2013

Dumpling Bonanza! Shanghai Pork & Prawn and Chive Dumplings

Now I am as Italian as they come, but if someone was to offer me a plate of pasta or a bamboo steamer of dumplings, I'd choose the dumplings every time, hands down. 

I first became a lover of the dumpling years ago in my beloved home town of Melbourne in "Chinatown". They are a cheap and delicious treat and your opportunities for Yum Cha and Dumplings are endless in Chinatown. We're really spoiled for choice in terms of our Asian cuisine in Melbourne. I've now been living in the UK for almost a year now and I have been so disappointed with the scarce number of Yum Cha/ Dim Sum restaurants, so on Saturday after much Googling, we found an Asian grocer about 20 minutes away and thought we might have a go at making some dumplings at home. 

Chinatown Melbourne, image from
Now I must confess I did not make my own dumpling pastry as making pastry is the one thing I HATE to do in the kitchen. We did manage to buy some square wonton wrappers and some round dumpling pastry. I turned to my favourite foodie blogger Not Quite Nigella for the Shanghai Dumpling recipe and to Super Food Ideas for the Prawn & Chive Dumplings, both equally delicious! 

Shanghai Dumplings (Pork & Prawn)

Yield: approx 50 dumplings

450 grams minced (ground) pork
125 grams prawns (shrimp) shelled and finely chopped
3 stalks of green onion finely minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce 
2 teaspoons of salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together using hands or a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Prawn and Chive Dumplings

Yield: approx 30 dumplings

600g green king prawns, peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger


1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds, you don't want the mixture to be a paste so you still should have some prawn chunks.

(Please see wrapping/ assembly instructions below for both types of dumplings)

Wrapping/Assembly for both dumplings

1. Fill the pastry disc with a ball of filling and wet the edges with water. Pinch and pleat the edges together on top of the dumpling to make a parcel and ensure they have been firmly sealed. Or similarly you can make crescent shaped dumplings as well by placing the filling on one side and pinching and pleating around one side.

2. Steam in a bamboo steamer over a wok for around 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.

3. Leave dumplings in steamer hen serving so the pastry doesn't go hard.

4. Serve with soy sauce.

Prawns for the Shanghai Dumplings
Shanghai Dumpling filling
Prawn and Chive filling
Prawn and Chive filling

Thursday 30 May 2013

Jamie Oliver's Chocolate Tart

It's true what they say about English weather, you get a patch of sun for a week every summer and you're done for the year. This couldn't be more true at the moment, we've had a few scattered days of sunshine and now I'm sitting here typing this up whilst it rains again, just for something different. Well one of those days way back when the sun was shinning for a brief period in time, I made this delightfully summery chocolate tart with berries. This was my first time using a sweet Jamie Oliver recipe, it was super delicious and delectable.


1 packet of Chocolate Digestive Biscuits or Chocolate Wheatons
250g butter

300ml double cream
2 tsp caster sugar
A pinch of fine sea salt
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g 70% cocoa cook’s chocolate, broken into small pieces (I used Lindt)
50ml whole milk
Berries, sea salt flakes or crème fraîche or ice cream, to serve

1. Crush biscuits in food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.
2. Add butter and mix together, mixture should be firm when pressed together.
3. Press biscuit mixture evenly and firmly into a tart tin and leave to cool in refrigerator whilst you make the filling
4. Put the cream, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Remove as soon as the mixture boils up. With the pan off the heat, add the butter and chocolate. Stir until blended.
5. Take a couple of minutes for a breather, then stir in the milk. Keep stirring till it's shiny.

6. Pour into the tart shell and leave at room temperature for 4 hours to set.
7. Once ready add your berries, salt or whatever your desired topping is and serve with cream or ice-cream.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Wholemeal Vanilla Yoghurt & Blueberry Muffins

Spring has definitely sprung here in the UK, it is no exaggeration when I say the sun has been shining for a whole week, as in 7 days of sunshine. I'm no stranger to the sun being an Aussie, but I am a stranger to celebrating the sun like the Brits do, because it is a sight they rarely see. I saw bright yellow daffodils in the garden and a crisp green lawn and I knew I had to bake some spring time Blueberry Muffins and get out in the garden and take some pictures. These muffins aren't as unkind to the waistline either... you're welcome ;-) ! What's cooking at the moment in your kitchen?


1¾ cups wholemeal flour
¾ cup raw sugar 
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
125gm butter or margarine
1 cup vanilla yoghurt (I use Danone Vanilla)

 cups of blueberries
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Cinnamon for sprinkling 


1.   Preheat oven to 170°C (fan forced)
2.   Cream butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, I use the paddle attachment.
3.   Add eggs to the mixture.
4.   Gradually add salt and flour in 3 batches.
5.   Once combined gradually add the yoghurt.
6. Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
7.   Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups  full and sprinkle muffins with a touch of cinnamon and raw sugar.
8.   Bake at 180°C (fan forced) for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Coconut

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I turned the ripe old age of 26, obviously cake was going to be a big part of my birthday. I was starting to get excited because I could pick a recipe and it didn't really have to please anyone else, after all, it was my day! I was then told it would be "sad" if I made my own cake, so the condition was that I was not allowed to bake but I was allowed to decorate! I settled on the Donna Hay Melt and Mix Chocolate Coconut cake. Coconut is one taste I've acquired as an adult and I think it is perfect in cake. However when I thought back to the Donna Hay cake, there was nothing technically wrong with the recipe, in fact I love the flavour, but I really did want a super moist cake, and that one is just a tad dry for my liking. I'd long heard the urban cake myth about using mayonnaise in a cake to make it extra moist and when you think about the main ingredients (oil & eggs) , it really does make sense, so I thought if I could find a good choc-mayo recipe (thank you Serious Eats) and then add some coconut, I'd have my Donna Hay favourite with extra moisture... So here it is, it was perfectly moist, perfectly cocnutty and perfectly fun for a birthday. I was channeling my inner cake inspiration with the decoration on this one, Sweetapolita as I droooled every time I saw this post!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Coconut

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, generous
  • 1 1/3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
Chocolate "Galaxy" Frosting (enough to fill generously between layers and frost outside)
  • 440 grams salted butter (room temperature)
  • 380 grams (sifted) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250grams of your favourite plain chocolate ( I used Galaxy/Dove)
  • 1 tablespoon of Nutella
  • 1 tablespoon of milk

Cake Method

  • 1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line two or more 9" cake tins (I used 3).
  • 2. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed until thick and very light in color; about 6 to 8 minutes. 
  • 3. Add the mayonnaise and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed until combined.
  • 4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt, and beat on low speed until combined. The mixture will look thick and fudgy. 
  • 5. Add the water and mix on low speed until it's incorporated. The batter will be much thinner. 
  • 6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for about 30 minutes (check it at about 25 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.Allow the cakes to cool on a rack, in their pans, for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are cool enough to handle. Invert them onto the rack and allow to finish cooling to room temperature.
Frosting Method
  • 1. Combine icing sugar and butter in an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until combined.
  • 2. Add vanilla, melted chocolate, Nutella, and milk and mix until combined (approx 3-5 mins)

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Best Ever Scones

I love scones. I love the simplicity. I love a good Devonshire Tea and what I really LOVE is a good scone recipe. We all have our favourite scone recipes, maybe even ones that have been passed down from generation to generation, well not mine. Mine is actually from Super Food Ideas and ever since I found this gem, I've been making them ever since. The beauty of them is, that there are only four ingredients... just four. They are quick, easy and tasty and this recipe is a great classic to have in the recipe book.


3 cups self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 cup of double cream
1 cup of lemonade or sprite for you Americans


Yield- 24 small or 12 large scones

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in cream and lemonade.

2. Mix with a knife or with an electric mixer with the dough hook until mixture has come together.

3. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and kneed until smooth, being careful not to over-kneed.

4. Cut with a scone cutter or even cut with a knife in squares, whatever takes your fancy. I normally keep my dough at about an inch thick, because I like big scones, but this is completely up to you. 

5. Bake for around 10-15 minutes or until golden, again this will vary on the size of your scones. Best served with jam and freshly whipped cream!

Happy Baking xxx

Friday 12 April 2013

Nigella Lawson's Coca Cola Ham

So you probably read the title and thought "Ham? But it's April. Ham is a Christmas thing." Well, yes traditionally ham does come out at Christmas time, but why should it just come out during the festive season. Growing up in an Italian family, ham is not something we ever had at Christmas, it's just not our thing, our thing is lasagne and lamb and loads of other Italian goodies, so we never fully embraced the ham, and what a shame. This past Christmas I was in charge of making the ham, I had never made one before and I wasn't even sure I'd even sure I'd eat it, but I did and I loved it! I went to the trusty Nigella Lawson website and followed her Ham in Coca-Cola recipe, step-by-step and it turned out perfectly, so much so that I even made it this past weekend as a bit of a care package for someone. Considering how much meat is actually in a ham, it was actually really cost-effective and using this recipe made it oh so tasty, don't diss the coke until you've tried it!

(Adapted from the Nigella Lawson recipe featured here. Recipe credits from

  • For the ham
  • kilograms mild-cure gammon or ham
  • onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • litres coca-cola

For the glaze 

  • handful of cloves (I left them out)
  • heaped tablespoon black treacle
  • teaspoons english mustard powder
  • tablespoons demerara sugar or raw sugar 

1. Put the gammon in a pan, skin-side down if it fits like that, add the onion, then pour over he coke. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2½ hours. (If your ham is larger or smaller, work out timing by reckoning on an hour per kilo, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later. but do take into account that if the gammon's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give it a good 15 minutes or so extra so that the interior is properly cooked.)

2. Preheat the oven to 240°c/gas mark 9. When the ham's had the appropriate amount of cooking time, take it out of the pan and let cool a little for ease of handling. 

3. Remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat. 

4. Cook in a foil-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

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